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Re: research question

Jun 01, 1997 11:50 AM
by Titus Roth

Mark Kusek <> wrote:

> Being composed of elements that partake of both Hindu and Buddhist
> thought (among other things), can anyone tell me how theosophy has
> resolved the difference between the traditional Hindu view of Atman and
> Brahman and the quite succint refutation of these concepts by Buddhism
> (for example, in the Buddhist doctrine of anatman)?

> Is there some overarching theosophical perspective that reconciles this
> direct philosophical opposition?

I'd also be interested in what our learned list members have to say on
this. (Paging scholarly, but down-to-earth Alan). But I have a general

Hinduism at the time of Buddha had a very elaborate pantheon to emphasize
minute and differentiated aspects of God. That in itself is no problem.  But
it seems that people hypostatized the pantheon and even got into endless
Pharisee-like disputes because of it. Less attention was given to spirit and
more to names and doctrine. Buddha cut down the thicket of doctrine and
re-emphasized the experiential roots of Hinduism, also emphasizing service.

In a random purusal of the index of SD, I found the following:

"The Hindu Reformer limited his public teachings to the purely moral and
physiological aspect of the Wisdom-Religion, to Ethics and MAN alone. Things
'unseen and incorporeal,' the mystery of Being outside out terestrial sphere,
the Great Teacher left entirely untouched in his public lectures ..." (pg. xx)

"His Secret Doctrine, however, differed in no wise from that of the initiated
Brahmins of his day. The Buddha was a child of the Aryan soil, a born Hindu, a
Kshatrya and a disciple of the 'twice born' (the initiated Brahmins) of
Dwijas. His teachings, therefore, could not be different from their doctrines
.." (pg. xxi)

I suspect but can't say for sure that the anatman doctrine, whatever it is, is
like his answer to a Pharisee-like question about reincarnation, "I neither
say that the soul reincarnates, nor that it doesn't."

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